Re­gret­ting a ‘blind’ de­ci­sion

I asked the teach­ers some ba­sic ques­tions, but didn’t sign a con­tract or any other le­gal doc­u­ments.

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA -

Bei­jinger Zheng Bochao sent his 10-year-old daugh­ter on a 14-day study visit to Canada dur­ing this year’s sum­mer va­ca­tion.

Ididn’t think twice whenmy daugh­ter brought home a mes­sage that her school had or­ga­nized a stu­dents’ visit to Canada in April.

At the time, I had no idea whether the school had an in­ter­na­tional depart­ment that han­dled over­seas trips, or re­search how the project was or­ga­nized. I asked the teach­ers some ba­sic ques­tions, but didn’t sign a con­tract or any other le­gal doc­u­ments.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, I had qualms about the safety of the trip, but even­tu­al­lymy con­cerns faded.

For­tu­nately, it was a safe trip, and the study tour, rooms and food con­formed to what had been promised. How­ever, if some­thing had gone wrong I would have been deeply re­morse­ful. Also, the lack of le­gal doc­u­men­ta­tion meant I could not have chal­lenged the school in court if it had failed to de­liver what it had promised.

I con­tacted the teach­ers all the time dur­ing the trip, hop­ing to learn what the chil­dren were do­ing, in­clud­ing what they ate and where they were stay­ing. I also askedmy daugh­ter to send photos or videos via theWeChat in­stantmes­sage ser­vice — after all, safety is al­ways the top pri­or­ity. I was so re­lieved whenmy daugh­ter came home that I re­ally didn’t pay much at­ten­tion to how she was taught or what she learned on the trip.

After she came home, I re­al­ized that I had made a “blind” de­ci­sion be­cause I didn’t take the trou­ble to learn about sim­i­lar vis­its ar­ranged by the school or the rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment poli­cies and laws.

Ifmy child is given an op­por­tu­nity for long-term study over­seas, or sim­i­lar projects, I will think twice and be more care­ful about the le­gal as­pects.

It’s es­sen­tial that schools pro­vide par­ents with spe­cific in­for­ma­tion about study tours over­seas, which would help us to un­der­stand the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the or­ga­niz­ers.

I think ex­changes or vis­its or­ga­nized by schools may be ac­cept­able in the fu­ture, but I will not al­lowmy daugh­ter to par­tic­i­pate in any over­seas ac­tiv­i­ties or­ga­nized by pri­vate ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions. Zheng Bochao spoke with Cao Yin

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